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Phi Kappa Psi Society

Phi Kappa Psi Society

Phi Kappa Psi was formed in 1892 when five members of the Alpha Club, Smith’s first literary society, decided to form their own group. According to its constitution, Phi Kappa Psi’s purpose was “1) to encourage and help maintain a high grade of scholarship, especially in literary lines, by its requirements for membership and by the literary character of its meetings, 2) by association to bring into more intimate and friendly relations girls who are congenial in aims and interests, and 3) by open meetings to contribute in a general way to the literary interests of Smith College.” Membership was based upon a young woman’s scholarship, special talents, and her qualification as a “representative girl.” Meetings were held monthly and included, the singing of club songs and the preparation and production of plays in addition to the publication of a quarterly magazine. In 1934, the Alpha Society and Phi Kappa Psi elected to combine as student interests shifted away from the arts, and formed the society known as Alpha Phi Kappa Psi, thus allowing both societies to endure. In 1938, Alpha Phi Kappa Psi adopted a new constitution which limited its membership to thirty students who had distinguished themselves in one or more of the arts, thus reflecting the club’s ideological shift over the years from “an amusement society,” as it was described by an 1883 member, to “an honorary [sic] society which recognizes outstanding creative achievement,” as it was described in 1938. While records are unclear as to when Alpha Phi Kappa Psi was discontinued, its last appearance in the Smith College Yearbook was in 1959.

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